This past weekend saw Mathieu van der Poel dominate the second round of the Superprestige series in Boom and the third round of the World Cup in Bern. It what is quickly becoming the norm, Van der Poel looked unbeatable as he simply rode away from the competition. Behind, there were plenty of battles for the remaining podium spots and minor placings.
While the focus was on those two races, there were a total of seven races in six countries this past week in Europe. Obviously the Superprestige and World Cup races had the biggest impact on the rankings, so we focused on them.
Here are this weeks rankings:
- David van der PoelDavid van der Poel struggled with the fast pace and group action on Sunday in Bern. However, on Saturday he rode to a strong eighth place finish. It could have been the travel, the course conditions, or simply bad day that saw him finish 21st on Sunday. We expect him to continue to race in the top ten and even crack the top five at some point.
- Lars van der HaarVan der Haar returns to the power rankings after a strong pair of races this past weekend. He was in the mix with the lead group on both days and looked very strong. We may be seeing the Van der Haar of old come back to life, including his fast and strong starts. He finished in the top ten on both days, he was sixth on Saturday and ninth on Sunday.
- Gianni VermeerschVermeersch was in the mix with Mathieu van der Poel and Toon Aerts on Saturday. He looked very strong and was able to handle the course and pace changes well. As he often does, Van der Poel eventually got away from Vermeersch and Aerts. Vermeersch would end up finishing third. On Sunday, he was off the pace a bit, finishing eleventh.
- Corne van KesselVan Kessel is one of two riders in our rankings who chose to skip the race in Boom to focus on the World Cup. That paid off with a solid seventh place finish on Sunday. Van Kessel and Van der Haar both benefited from having Aerts up the road on Sunday. They were able to save some energy and use team tactics in what was a large chase group.
- Daan SoeteSoete slips a few places, even though he had a decent weekend. Saturday he finished just off the pace in eleventh. Perhaps he was saving something for Sunday where he finished sixth. On Sunday Soete impressed as he was able to hold Van der Poel’s wheel for the first few laps. Eventually Van der Poel got away from Soete and Wout van Aert. Van Aert kept the pressure on, while Soete faded.
- Michael VanthourenhoutIt was another consistent weekend for Vanthourenhout. On Saturday, he was seventh and on Sunday, he was fourth. His race on Sunday in hot, dry, almost road race like conditions proves that he is becoming more versatile. In the past he has excelled on super muddy courses (think worlds), but it appears he’s capable of performing on any type of course.
- Quinten HermansHermans continues his string of strong performances with a pair of top five finishes. He was just off the podium in fourth on Saturday and fifth on Sunday. As the season progresses, he should be on the podium at some of the major races.
- Toon AertsAerts fast start to the season has seemed to cooled off a bit. He seems to have a slower start to races and moves to the front after the first few laps. This may have cost him on Sunday as both Mathieu van der Poel and Wout van Aert were gone by the time he got away from the chase group. With that said, he was with Van der Poel on Saturday and couldn’t match his acceleration. It’d be interesting to see how he would fare with a faster start.
- Wout van AertVan Aert skipped Saturday’s Superprestige race to focus on the World Cup on Sunday. From the gun, he went toe-to-toe with Van der Poel. However, a dropped chain gave Van der Poel all he needed to slip away and solo to victory. With that said, there were times where Van Aert looked agonizingly close to reeling Van der Poel back in. In addition, we liked Van Aert’s tactic of hitting the front from the gun and putting some pressure on Van der Poel. However, Van der Poel is just too strong right now.
- Mathieu van der PoelAs we mentioned at the top, it was another pair of victories for Van der Poel this weekend. He played it cool on Saturday, biding his time before attacking. On Sunday, he got to the front after a fast start and pushed the pace. Even if Van Aert didn’t have chain issues, Van der Poel would have attacked and won solo.